Upside Down Apple & Banana Cake

While going through the motions of my standard banana cake (bread) routine, came up with the idea for this delicious offering (I am sure someone else has done the same before). Using blackened bananas and other end of life fruit bowl items, I set about the task.

Ingredients used today (next week may be different)

  • 4 oz butter + some for greasing
  • 4 oz white sugar
  • 6 oz SR flour
  • 3 old bananas
  • 2 old eating apples
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-6 tsp Ground cinnamon or to taste
  • Demarara sugar – 5 sachets from Starbucks (other coffee houses are as helpful)
  • Brownie tin / large loaf tin
  • Oven heated to 160 deg c (fan)

Melt butter in pan and add sugar to dissolve it. Add flour, baking powder and 2 tsp cinnamon to melted butter and sugar. Mix thoroughly until you get a thick paste.

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Then smush the bananas in a separate bowl and add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well.

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Combine the wet mix with the thick paste. I stick it in the same pan to save washing up.

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It may look a bit wet, but that’s fine. It is meant to be a moist cake. Just make sure all the flour lumps are well dispersed.

Meanwhile, grease the baking tin liberally with butter. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon evenly over the base then do the same with the demarara sugar. Once that is done lay out the finely diced apple as evenly as possible. As you can see I like cinnamon and went for another cheeky little dusting on top of the apple. 🙂

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Then pour the banana mix evenly over the apples tapping gently to release any trapped air.

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Bake in th lower part of the oven for 45-50 minutes until brown, clean skewer evident and coming away from the sides. Comme ca…

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Leave to cool for 10 minutes then flip out onto your serving plate.

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Yummy in my tummy. Happy Birthday Jason 🙂


Grandma Sybil’s Chocolate Fudge Cake

This is a cake that I grew up with and one that transports me back to my Gran’s parlour every time I sample a slice. It is very easy to create and even easier to consume. You will need:Sybil Choc Cake - 02

For the cake

  • 5 oz Self raising flour
  • 6 oz cater sugar
  • 6 oz soft margarine
  • 3 oz drinking chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tblsp hot water

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well until smooth and creamy. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Pour mixture into greased cake tin (8in ideally). I used a 7.5 in square.

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Bake for 45 – 55 mins until springy in the middle and coming away from the sides.

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Leave in the tin for 5 mins and then turn out onto rack and allow to cool before icing.

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For the icing:

  • 3 oz soft marg/butter
  • 6 oz icing sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 1 tblsp milk



Melt chocolate and butter over bain marie stirring regularly. Remove from heat and mix in icing sugar a bit at a time (whisk/mixer needed).

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Ice and decorate to taste.

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I hope that you glean as much pleasure as I have with this little nugget of joy. Thanks Grandma. Missing you loads xx.

10 Bean Pork Fillet

My better half ordered these from a reputable supermarket along with 450g of choice lean pork fillet and said “I fancy a bean casserole, can you make it for us?”Beans

The contents consisted of: A mix of black eyed beans, black turtle beans, butter beans, haricot beans, lima beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans, rose cocoa beans, alubia beans and mung beans.

I guess you could use any dried bean/pulse combination or even a can of cannellini. Here is what else I included in the final recipe.

  • 450g pork fillet
  • 250g dried beans
  • 2 carrots
  • Mixed peppers
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 large onion
  • 2/4 bay leaves, 3/4 sprigs of parsley, 5/6 garlic cloves, 4/8 sprigs thyme
  • Chilli flakes to taste,  2tsp paprika
  • 2 Chicken/pork stock, tblsp tomato puree, tsp cider vinegar

Dried beans need soaking overnight then boiled in fresh water with a couple of bay leaves, garlic and thyme (do not add salt yet as it toughens the beans). Follow the packet instructions for boiling as some beans can be toxic if not handled correctly. (40 mins approx)

Slice pork into medallions and season with olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika – set to one side. Soften onion, celery, carrots and peppers in a large lidded pan with a couple of sprigs of thyme, a few bay leaves and some garlic. Season with salt, pepper and chilli and cover for 10-15 mins on low heat.

Add softened beans and liquid to sweated veg. Mix in tomato puree, vinegar and crumbled stock cubes allow to simmer for another 30 mins. Brown pork in separate pan for 2 minutes then add to bean mixture and deglaze pan with a splash of liquid (water, wine, cider…). Simmer for a further 20 – 30 minutes.


Serve with salad or rice or on its own. Bon apetit. Nom nom

Easter Buns (Hot Cross)

I think I will take out shares in Paul Hollywood as once again I have used his recipe to create these wonderful Easter treats. My sons are becoming more involved with the kitchen and were responsible for the final shape and form of the buns. You will need:

For the buns
  • 300ml/10fl oz whole milk
  • 500g/1lb 2oz strong white flour
  • 75g/2½oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7g sachet fast-action yeast
  • 50g/1Âľoz butter
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten
  • 75g/2½oz sultanas
  • 50g/1Âľoz mixed peel
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • sunflower oil, for greasing the bowl
For the cross
  • 75g/2½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the glaze
    • 3 tbsp apricot jam

    Preparation method

    • Bring the milk to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature.
    • Mix the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter and egg together in a bowl, then slowly add the warmed milk until it forms a soft, sticky dough.
    • Add the sultanas, mixed peel, chopped apple and orange zest, then tip out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for five minutes, or until smooth and elastic.


    • Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for approximately one hour, or until doubled in size.

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    • Divide the dough into 12 even pieces, and roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured surface. Arrange the buns on a baking tray lined with parchment, leaving enough space so that the buns just touch when they rise and expand. Set aside to prove for another hour.

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    • Heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
    • For the cross, mix the flour with about five tablespoons of water in small bowl, adding the water one tablespoon at a time, so that you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.

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    • Bake for 20-25 minutes on the middle shelf of the oven, or until golden-brown.

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    • Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool. Gently rip the buns apart to serve, revealing temptingly soft edges.

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Bread Rolls (Hardough – Jamaican)

Going on a trip to see some good friends and decided to take some rolls so that we could break bread with them. This is a recipe from the internet which is very simple.

  • 500g Bread flour
  • 14g dried yeast (2 sachets)
  • 4 Tblsp sugar
  • 1 Tblsp salt
  • 30g Butter/marg (melted & cooled)
  • 20ml veg oil
  • Water to bind (300ml approx)

I like to get the yeast going by dissolving the sugar in the water then add the yeast. I then put the flour, salt, and oil into my mixer and then pour in the yeasty broth. Mix for about 10 minutes until you have a moist/sticky dough. I add more flour if needed, but not too much as it needs to be moist.

Then it is important to oil the dough ball before leaving it to rise in a warm spot for about an hour (double in size). Then shape to your preferred style. We went for 6 regular and 6 Kaiser rolls.Bread rolls - 02 Bread rolls - 04 Leave to rise again for about an hour (double sized)Bread rolls - 05 Bread rolls - 06 Bake at 200 deg C for 15-20 mins until golden and hollow to tapBread rolls - 08 Bread rolls - 09 Bread rolls - 10 Serve with friends. Nom nom…Bread rolls - 11


This has got to be one of my favourite after dinner treats. So simple yet seems indulgent at the same time. This can be a quick midweek pud or a crafted explosion of flavour, temperature and texture. The premise is very simple – coffee and ice cream.

I first encountered this delight many years ago in the coastal town of Ayr, Scotland, at an Italian deli come gelateria 500 yds from the sea. The key to its success being the quality of its ice cream and coffee. This is why I say the affogatto can be simple or indulgent. The quality of ingredients have an exponential effect on the end product.

My recipe is

  • 2 scoops of homemade vanilla ice cream
  • Double shot of fresh espresso
  • Amaretti biscuits crumbled on top

Christmas Chelsea Buns

Paul Hollywood (Great British Bake Off) shared this recipe leading up to Christmas and it looked so tasty I had to give it a go. The combination of sweet enriched bread combined with the deep and aromatic savoury flavours of Christmas promised to deliver on many levels.

The dough itself is relatively easy to make and can handle (if not require) extra flour to get the required smooth consistency that you need. 10 minutes kneading by hand or dough hook should be long enough to develop the gluten. You should be aiming for a soft, tacky and elastic dough. Another tip is to make sure that all ingredients are at room temp. NB. I used more ingredients than in the recipe because I knew I had to feed more. (I just added half again, i.e. 750g flour etc.)

Makes 6 (approx.)

  • 500g bread flour
  • 14g dried yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g sugar
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 90ml warm water
  • 270g cranberry sauce
  • 200g stuffing – chopped
  • 300g turkey – shredded
  • 2 tblsp bread sauce (optional)

Stir sugar yeast milk and water in a jug and allow to sit for a few minutes to start the yeast off. Put flour and salt into large mixing bowl and add yeast mixture and blend together. Tip out and knead on a floured surface or in a mixing bowl with a dough hook for at least 10 mins until smooth – you will probably have to add more flour as you go along to reduce stickiness.

This is a rich dough so will be naturally moist and tacky so don’t panic if it sticks to your fingers a little. Cover and leave it to rise till doubled, which can take up to 2 hours.

Once doubled tip the dough out onto a well floured surface and gently work into a rectangular shape, first with you hands and then with a rolling pin. Roll it to about 3/4 cm thick and then tack down the edge closest to you – see below.

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Now spread on your toppings (room temp please) starting with the sauces then the stuffing and finally the turkey. See below

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Christmas Chelsea buns - 4Now roll it up starting at the edge away from you. The trick is to work your way along the roll lifting and lightly tugging/stretching the dough as you go. Then trim the ends off and cut 2 inch rounds from the roll and put into a well buttered non stick deep dish.

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Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour until there are no visible gaps between the rounds and they look puffed up.

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Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 mins at 180 deg C (fan oven) until golden brown. If you can check the bottom to make sure it is cooked all the better – they can be taken out and examined on a cooling rack if you need to.

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I served mine alongside some soup that I made from the turkey bones making full use of the leftovers. I still have a load of turkey meat to use tomorrow so I might make a pie or curry or perhaps a risotto…